Principles of Organic Gardening

The essence of organic growing is to work within natural systems and cycles. The basic principle is that the soil is as important as the plants it supports.

Our booklet, The Principles of Organic Growing, describes the organic approach to gardening - what to do and what to avoid. After the Introduction, we list the five pillars of organic gardening and describe the thinking behind them:

  1. Build and maintain soil health . The soil is full of life, which supports healthy plant growth.
  2. Encourage biodiversity . Different life forms such as plants, insects, birds and mammals all have a role in creating a resilient growing system.
  3. Use resources responsibly . The organic grower uses resources sustainably, with minimum damage to the planet.
  4. Avoid using harmful chemicals . Toxic chemicals used to kill weeds, diseases and pests can damage the health of your growing area, and all the life-forms within and beyond it.
  5. Maintain a healthy growing area . Keeping your growing area in good health, rather than just pest and disease free, is at the heart of organic growing. A diverse and vigorous growing system, good hygiene, and close observation all help prevent problems.

Throughout the text we have used a helpful traffic light system, from Green - best practice, through to Amber - next best alternative, to Red - never acceptable in organic growing. The aim is to encourage you, the gardener, on your growing journey! And to help you think the organic way.

There is also a Glossary to explain any difficult words, and Appendices for detailed information on How and When to apply soil improvers, Mineral Based Fertilisers, Plastics you can plant in, and Wood Preservatives .

Each individual chapter of the Principles of Organic Gardening can be downloaded by clicking on the words in green, above. Alternatively, we can send you a copy by post, all we ask is a suggested donation of £2.50 to cover postage and package. You can do this here, selecting 'Donation for Principles of Organic Gardening' from the drop down options.

"Easy to understand and clearly laid out, this is the go-to guide for anyone wanting to understand the thinking behind organic gardening."

Chris Collins, TV Gardener and Head of Horticulture, Garden Organic